“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Federal Thugs Assault a Guitar Factory :: Just Another Example of Why Federal Agencies Need to be Dissolved

Agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service. 
Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson's chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company's manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier," he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn't the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian's ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."

The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards. And if Gibson did knowingly import illegally harvested ebony from Madagascar, that wouldn't be a negligible offense. Peter Lowry, ebony and rosewood expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden, calls the Madagascar wood trade the "equivalent of Africa's blood diamonds." But with the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.

It isn't just Gibson that is sweating. Musicians who play vintage guitars and other instruments made of environmentally protected materials are worried the authorities may be coming for them next.

If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood. Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent—not to mention face fines and prosecution.

John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says "there's a lot of anxiety, and it's well justified." Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, "I don't go out of the country with a wooden guitar."

The tangled intersection of international laws is enforced through a thicket of paperwork. Recent revisions to 1900's Lacey Act require that anyone crossing the U.S. border declare every bit of flora or fauna being brought into the country. One is under "strict liability" to fill out the paperwork—and without any mistakes.

It's not enough to know that the body of your old guitar is made of spruce and maple: What's the bridge made of? If it's ebony, do you have the paperwork to show when and where that wood was harvested and when and where it was made into a bridge? Is the nut holding the strings at the guitar's headstock bone, or could it be ivory? "Even if you have no knowledge—despite Herculean efforts to obtain it—that some piece of your guitar, no matter how small, was obtained illegally, you lose your guitar forever," Prof. Thomas has written. "Oh, and you'll be fined $250 for that false (or missing) information in your Lacey Act Import Declaration."

Consider the recent experience of Pascal Vieillard, whose Atlanta-area company, A-440 Pianos, imported several antique Bösendorfers. Mr. Vieillard asked officials at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species how to fill out the correct paperwork—which simply encouraged them to alert U.S. Customs to give his shipment added scrutiny.

There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys. But Mr. Vieillard didn't have his paperwork straight when two-dozen federal agents came calling.

Facing criminal charges that might have put him in prison for years, Mr. Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act, and was handed a $17,500 fine and three years probation.

Given the risks, why don't musicians just settle for the safety of carbon fiber? Some do—when concert pianist Jeffrey Sharkey moved to England two decades ago, he had Steinway replace the ivories on his piano with plastic.

Still, musicians cling to the old materials. Last year, Dick Boak, director of artist relations for C.F. Martin & Co., complained to Mother Nature News about the difficulty of getting elite guitarists to switch to instruments made from sustainable materials. "Surprisingly, musicians, who represent some of the most savvy, ecologically minded people around, are resistant to anything about changing the tone of their guitars," he said.

You could mark that up to hypocrisy—artsy do-gooders only too eager to tell others what kind of light bulbs they have to buy won't make sacrifices when it comes to their own passions. Then again, maybe it isn't hypocrisy to recognize that art makes claims significant enough to compete with environmentalists' agendas.


  1. Two dozen agents, say $100,000 annually in wages, benefits and G&O expenses per.

    All in an effort to protect
    ebony and ivory.

  2. Libya produces a great amount of sweet crude, hence Europeon anxiety over the Charlie Chi-com production franchises that were being established.

    Syria, that's just another shitty little country.

  3. If toppling Mr Assad was in the interest of the United States, he'd be gone, already.

    He has been doing a remarkable job, containing the Islamic fanatics of the Sunni sect, there in Syria.

    The Assad clan has been filling that role, for decades.

  4. The Syria military continues to suppress the radical Sunni, there in Syria. Sunnis that are being supported by the Wahhabi regime in Saudi Arabia.

    Little wonder, then, that the US remains in a stand-off position. Allowing events to play out.

    Syria, under the Assad regime, is no threat to US interests. Syria has not been a threat in the past, it is not now.

  5. So says just a shitty little mind.

  6. is no threat to US interests

    Course, according to this shitty little rat mind, we have no interests there, much the least, a big shitty interest.

  7. While I certainly supported the US military destroying the Syrian capacity for mechanized warfare, back in 2003, the US firmly rejected that option.

    There has been no change in circumstance that would be cause for the US to take action in Syria, now.

    If anything, the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan would discourage engagement in Syria.

    The US seems incapable of military actions and strategies short of long term occupation.

  8. The US has no interests, in Syria.

    That has been the case for decades.
    It continues, today.

    No one has made a case that the internal politics of Syria are a vital US interest.

    That empowering the Wahhabist Sunni, in Syria, is in the best interests of the US.

  9. Why should the United States support the Muslim Brotherhood, in Syria, anon?

  10. What a genius. What about breaking the fucking country up?

  11. While the US supports the government of Lebanon, some here at the Elephant Bar advocate destabilizing it.


    How could that benefit the United States?

  12. By not destroying them we are supporting them.

  13. That, along with breaking up Iraq, has been analyzed, debated and rejected as policy.

    Make the case for it, if you wish.
    But deconstructing Syria has never been US policy.

    It is not now.

  14. Of course the US is.

    The US is allied with Islam.
    Wahhabist Islam of the Saudi persuasion.

    Why, even after 11SEP01?

  15. We support both sides, in Syria.

    With inaction.

    Turmoil, in Syria, is our friend.

  16. The US does not "destroy".

    Look to Iraq or Afghanistan for confirmation.

    To engage in Syria is to empower Syrians, not destroy them.

    Which Syrian group should we empower?

    The Muslim Brotherhood or the Assad clan?

    Or stay aloof, letting the low level turmoil play on.

    Why is it in the US interest to spend blood and treasure in support of either the Assad clan or the Muslim Brotherhood?

  17. .

    Eerily familiar.

    Iran appears to be following the US example in foreign policy. Proceed as if everything is fine until it becomes plain that things are not, then when your position becomes untenable shift sides as if it was all your idea. We saw it with the US in Egypt. Now we see the beginnings with Iran on Syria.

    It appears Assads goose is cooked.

    Iran warns of power vacuum in Syria. It also calls on Assad to listen to protesters.

    BEIRUT -- Syria's closest ally, Iran, warned Saturday that a power vacuum in Damascus could spark a crisis in the region -- but also urged President Bashar Assad to listen to some of his people's "legitimate demands."

    Thousands of protesters, meanwhile, insisted they will defy tanks and bullets until Assad leaves power.

    The 5-month-old uprising in Syria has left Assad with few international allies -- with the vital exception of Iran, which the U.S. and other nations say is helping drive the deadly crackdown on dissent.

    Saturday's comments, by Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, were a subtle shift in tone toward compromise by Tehran, which encouraged the Assad regime to answer to its people while reiterating its support for its key ally. Most previous comments from Iran focused on a "foreign conspiracy" driving the unrest...

    Iran Changing Sides?


  18. .

    The US does not "destroy".

    Look to Iraq or Afghanistan for confirmation.

    Good lord rat.

    In Iraq, 2 million people turned into refugees, 150,000 - 600,000 Iraqis killed, infrastucture destroyed, the last I heard there were some places still getting only 5 hours of electricity a day. The only way we could have helped them out more was by dropping one of WiO's nukes.

    I'll give you Afghanistan. It was so screwed up when we got there even our best efforts couldn't screw it up more.


  19. .

    As Deuce pointed out, it's the same shit that has been going on in the ME for millenia. Merely a game of musical chairs when it comes to power. The only difference now, they use guns instead of spears and rocks.

    Saudi Arabia uses unrest to pursue goals

    Saudi Arabia is getting bolder in its strategy for dealing with the Middle East's uprisings. No longer waiting for Washington's cue, the kingdom is aggressively trying to influence the regional turmoil and boost its two goals — protect fellow royal houses and isolate its rival, Iran.

    The more decisive policies by King Abdullah were on full display this week as he took the lead among Arab nations by yanking his ambassador from Syria and demanding an "end to the killing machine" of President Bashar Assad's regime in a startlingly strong condemnation of Damascus' bloody suppression of protesters.

    It was the first time the predominantly Sunni kingdom has weighed in publicly on Syria's upheaval — and demonstrated the Saudis' willingness to shift gears dramatically as needed.

    Saudi Arabia has tried to snuff out or buy off dissent at home and around the Gulf, most notably sending troops to Bahrain to help its Sunni monarch crush a Shiite protest movement in a deadly crackdown.

    "It's a big move for Saudi Arabia," said Christopher Davidson, who studies Gulf affairs at Durham University in Britain. "Before, Saudi was seen as the main anti-Arab Spring power and interested mostly in preserving the status quo in the region. Now, you have the Saudis actively and openly against the Syrian regime."

    "The reason, of course, is Iran," he added.

    For the Saudis, the revolt in Syria is a chance to strike at one of the pillars of Iran's influence..."

    Saudi Arabia Tells Syria 'Do What I Say Not What I Do'


  20. What a genius. What about breaking the fucking country up?

    You should have auditioned for a part in the neocon Greek Chorus that advised George Bush.

    You would have fit right in.


  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. .

    The Burning Man Festival

    Back to our pagan past. Actually, it was the part about learning to make absinthe that caught my eye.

    Ever been, rat?

    That’s one of the paradoxes of Burning Man, the annual arts festival whose attractions include colossal art installations, all-night dance parties, marathon kite-flying sessions, off-kilter fashion shows, and classes where revelers can learn things that range from Hula Hooping to playing the ukulele to making absinthe...

    The Burning Man Festival: Fun in the Desert at a $360 a Pop


  23. Oh, Q, we caused some turmoil, in Ira, to be sure. But destroyed?

    I think not.

    Indeed there are more schools, hospitals and such now, than before the US intervention.

    We've replenished the wetlands and dredged the ports.

    Neither the infrastructure, nor, more importantly, the societal structure was destroyed in Iraq after US engagement.

    No, we did not destroy the Sunni population centers of Anwar, we did not decimate the Shiite in Baghdad.

    The US has empowered them all.

    Kurds included.

  24. No, Q, I've never been to Burning Man, though the thought of going has entered my mind.

    Never to the extent of taking action, though.

  25. The US has empowered them all.

    Kurds included.


    Total non senso O.

    Product of an occupation mind?

    Solution: go back to Italy, that land of genius.


  26. Burning Man.

    I wanna go.


  27. Those girls show their nipples there, too, bob. You might want to reconsider.

  28. I've often wondered about the Italians.

    They are such shameless people.

    They make no sense whatsoever.

    Drug lords seem to be their heroes, these days.

    I rank them the same level as Mexicans.

    Never doin' nothing much except giving the rest of us a big pain in the ass.


  29. Don't remind me Rufus, I am de-toxing.

    S L O W L Y

  30. quirk:

    The only way we could have helped them out more was by dropping one of WiO's nukes.

    Please do not misrepresent my advocation of selection targeting of nuking the black rock of mecca.

    I do not advocate the "nuking" of islamic populations at this time. The USA has actually done that very thing to Japanese (something I did support after the fact).

    The USSR and the USA very strategy was based on using nukes on civilian populations.

    So do not "label" me with your comments about nukes trying to make what I say pejorative.

    I advocate the military of some unnamed nation, taking out the Ka'aba with some sort of permanence. Use of a precison nuke, a high energy laser from space or kidnapping the rock and sending it into the sun all have merit.

    The reason for such a wanton lust for destruction?

    I advocate the only cure for the islamic mind is forced evolution.

    By destroying one of the 5 pillars of Islam it will force them to re-think that "islam and it's ways" are undefeatable. And that "reformation" must occur..

    The elimination of one of the 5 pillars is such an act.

    Now before you get your panties in a wad and query? How would like that to happen to you?
    I'd point you to the destruction of the Temple, 2 times...

    Have you ever heard of the "temple"?

    the real ONE...

    not the fake copies that adorn the landscapes of the planet.. (sorry greek orthodox)

    It's destruction gave the jewish people "refomation"

    So Christianity had it's as well....

    So it's time for the moslem world to get a "reformation"

  31. .

    Lighten up WiO.

    Define your purposes for talking about using nukes any way you want. I really don't care. You told me once some time ago that you were using the 'nuke the rock theme' sarcastically.

    I accepted that you meant it.

    In trying to get a conclusion to my argument with rat your nuke was the first thing that came to mind. I was using it to point out the absurdity of minimizing the harm we did in Iraq.


  32. .

    So do not "label" me with your comments about nukes trying to make what I say pejorative.

    Sorry, if you thought I labelled you. Not my intent.

    Have you ever heard of the "temple"?

    Gee, no. I must have missed that.


  33. I think we've had about all the ME adventurism we can stand, as it is.

    Syria will just have to do whatever it is that Syria is going to do.

  34. .

    The Burning Man Festival

    I was going to suggest that the Burning Man Festival sounds like it might be a good choice for one of Mel's road trips. However, the following gave me pause.

    Burners are expected to arrive with everything they need to survive a week of desert camping, including food, water and shelter. Vending and advertising are forbidden. In a limited concession, coffee and ice are available to buy, but that’s it.

    She could leave her surf board home; however, it looks like she would have to supplement her "essentials" kit with everything from nail polish to extra mousse.

    I would imagine a week in the desert could be rough on the hair.


  35. Reporter Gives Update Covered In Sea Shit

    MYFOXNY.COM - A local news reporter from Washington, D.C. ended up getting covered in what is probably the remnants of raw sewage as he delivered live hurricane reports from Ocean City, Md.

    WTTG-TV reporter Tucker Barnes was providing live updates for stations around the country as a wall of what he described as sea foam poured over him.

    Barnes was on the boardwalk as Hurricane Irene hit the coast of Maryland

    He noted that he had immersed himself in organic material. That "organic material" was most likely the effects of raw sewage pouring into the water during the storm.

    "It doesn't taste great," he said.

    He said it had a sandy consistency and added, "I can tell you first-hand, it doesn't smell great."

    The foam is often a toxic mix of pollution and cyanobacteria.

    60 mph wind gust sprayed the toxic mix across the reporter and the boardwalk and coated buildings.

    Bubbles and foam in the ocean can be caused by several other things, including oils from decomposing animals.

    Read more:

  36. What "Right to Work?"

    Another Interview with Gibson CEO

    Nov 2009 Homeland Security Swat Team with automatic weapons, confiscated $500,000 worth of wood, made employees go outside, then put some employees in rooms with 4 or 5 armed agents for interrogation.

    Gibson was said to have violated Madagascar laws in this case.

    Gibson's day in court was coming up this Monday, this raid was to forestall that.
    Government says court case is interfering with their investigation!

    Gibson has made 580 new hires in last couple of years, now they are forced to lay off workers, and have lost over a million dollars business because of this in addition to the half-million dollars worth of wood that the Government still holds.


    Another right to work state...

    Issa's latest on NY Times Error Laden Hit Piece

    Darrell Issa keeps pressure on NLRB
    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is keeping up the pressure on the National Labor Relations Board for pursuing legal ...In-Depth: Boeing Documents From Labor Board Subpoenaed‎ Bloomberg
    Blog: Issa Subpoenas NLRB Documents in Boeing Case‎ Wall Street Journal (blog)
    Darrell Issa Subpoenas National Labor Relations Board Documents In ...‎

  37. All 5 new hires to the Justice Department's Coordination and Compliance Section have far-left resumes

    — which were only released following a PJMedia lawsuit.

    For several weeks, PJMedia has been publishing a series of articles on the ideological and partisan histories of attorney hires into the career civil service ranks of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in the Obama administration. The articles have demonstrated the political and ideological litmus test being employed by those entrusted with hiring in the Division.

    Every single new attorney hired has a history thick with left-wing activism.

  38. .

    It looks like "Arab Spring" is turning into "Arab Autumn".

    Moqtada al-Sadr pushes for protests in Iraq after Muslim holy month of Ramadan

    Anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has released a letter calling on his followers in Iraq to demonstrate “in millions” after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends next week.

    In the letter, released late Friday, Sadr urged his followers to demonstrate against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, saying it has not done enough to improve public services. Many Iraqis do not have full electricity in their homes or sufficient running water...

    “We remind the government about the fate of the Arab leaders who were swooped down on by their own people and toppled in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt,” the Shiite cleric wrote...

    Yankee Go Home


  39. .

    Every single new attorney hired has a history thick with left-wing activism.


    Jeez, it seems like only yesterday the Bush administration was being raked for the same thing.

    Politics: The only place where rats equivalancy meme has much standing.


  40. In the letter, released late Friday, Sadr urged his followers to demonstrate against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, saying it has not done enough to improve public services. Many Iraqis do not have full electricity in their homes or sufficient running water...

    The electricity and water infrastructure that his own Jihadis destroyed to poke the nation-building Yanks in the eye. Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck.

  41. By destroying one of the 5 pillars of Islam it will force them to re-think that "islam and it's ways" are undefeatable. And that "reformation" must occur..

    One of the 613 Pillars of Judaism was the Temple on Mt Zion.

    Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

    Rome nuked the Second Temple in 70 AD (Nebuchadnezzar nuked the first one in 597 BC). All this did to Judaism was metastasized it.

  42. The US is allied with Islam.
    Wahhabist Islam of the Saudi persuasion.

    The US was allied with Soviet Communism of the Russian persuasion from the summer of 1941 through the summer of 1945, because it was in our national interest to do so.

    A friend of mine was killed by our "ally" Saddam on the USS Stark in 1987. We turned the other cheek, until it was in our national interest to paint Saddam as the bad guy.

  43. The Operative phrase - National Interest

    Said over, and over, on this blog -
    Countries Don't Have Friends. Countries Have Interests.

  44. Said over, and over, on this blog -
    Countries Don't Have Friends. Countries Have Interests.


    Marshall Plan.




    To name a few.


  45. "This could be worse than a run of bad luck"
    he said.

    Worth More than a Thousand Words

    "This is going to be a tough slog getting through this thing," Obama said during a video teleconference including senior federal officials and local government agencies in the east coast path of Irene.

    "It's going to be a long 72 hours. Obviously a lot of families are going to be affected ... the biggest concern I'm having right now has to do with flooding and power," Obama said during the videoconference.

    "(It) sounds like that's going to be an enormous strain on a lot of states" that could last days, or even longer in some cases, he said.

    Saturday evening Obama convened a conference call with members of his senior emergency response team including Vice President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, among others.

    "The President was briefed on the current track of the storm, the weather impacts being felt so far and efforts to pre-position response and recovery assets," said a statement released by the White House.

    "The President asked to be kept apprised of developments throughout the night and said that he wants the group to re-convene tomorrow morning."

    Obama returned home one night early on Friday from his island vacation on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and appeared keen to be visibly in charge as the response to Hurricane Irene unfolds.

  46. No charges were filed against the boaters.

    Thank God for that.

    Out here where we got rivers such stuff is a serious business.


  47. Anonymous said...
    …just doing what your posse does best…At least he wasn’t a girl.

    Allen, the other side of the rat coin, heads and tails, just alike, no difference between them.

    Same m.o., same snarly personality, same craparoo...( except Allen's got a very very special relationship with G-D)
    Fri Aug 26, 02:33:00 PM EDT

    Right … How’s the little woman’s health these days, Studly?

  48. MeLoDy said...

    Two arrested for rowing down flooded main street

    Sun Aug 28, 12:37:00 PM EDT

    Sheee - it.

    Last week two rafters from California died on the main Salmonny.(that's what we call it)

    Got what they deserved, should have stayed in a bar in Blissful Califoricate.


    (we have a betting ring here, who can pick the number of dead on the rivers to New Years Day)_

  49. I see the o so Jewish sicko returns, to violate the sanctity of a wonderful summers day.


  50. Scratching scabs in summertime, that's ol' Allen, with nothing else to do, the Zionist, who will sacrifice his own son to a cult, a cult, though a good one, which he won't fight for his very self, or he would be outta here.

    O Allen the Blessed, who has an intimate relationship with G-D, that we gentile non thinkers just can't ever get.

    He whines like Cohn in The Sun Also Rises.


  51. How is it there, o Allen the pure, in your oh so fucked up mind?

    Give us a description of it, if you please.

    You, asshole, as a lesser Jew than me, as I don't go about slandering people.

    O for a real Bar, and Allen chewing his teeth on the floor.

    Allen: you SUCK

    Bob Rules

  52. bob,

    Whatever you are taking, up the dosage.

  53. from bob

    re: Allen

    "fucked up mind"


    ...brilliantly argued from the bottom of a bottle...

    How does one argue with the genius of the man?
    "the Zionist, who will sacrifice his own son to a cult, a cult, though a good one..."
    ...sorta like patriotism...

  54. I'm not taking anything, Allen.

    Nor can I recommend that you up your dosage.

    You are one of the most unpleasant folk I've ever had the miss/pleasure to meet, and I sorta feel sorry for you, all twisted to forever in your Jahweh craparoo, wishing the death of the Christian churches as you do.

    None of which means a goddamn fucking thing to me.

    You deal with it.

    I mentioned to my daughter about you..she suck....


  55. Allen: my daughter said:


  56. You leave your own SON to make up his own MIND about such silly ( I hope he comes to understand this) THINGS as the UNSPEAKABLE NAME and for CHRIST'S SAKE go show a condo.


  57. Allen is a Jewish piece of crap.

    He says Gentiles fuck their own daughters.

    Allen is insane.


  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. He says Gentiles fuck their own daughters.

    GENESIS 19

    [32] Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

    [33] And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

    [34] And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our Father.

    [35] And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

    [36] Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

    [37] And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

    [38] And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

  60. The rebels captured Friday the Ras Jdir border post on the frontier with Tunisia, through which it was feared that Khadafy, his henchmen and his family might try to escape.

    The UN, African Union, Arab League and European Union urged both sides in Libya to avoid reprisals, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

    "Col. Khadafy must avoid further bloodshed by relinquishing power and calling on those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms and protect civilians," she said, while the Arab League early Sunday called on "the UN and countries concerned" to "unfreeze the assets and property" of Libya, in a statement released in Cairo after a special meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

  61. Khadafy's remaining forces continued yesterday to put up a fight in Sirte, the fallen dictator's hometown.

    Rebels kept up their hunt for Khadafy and his sons. "Of course, we want to get Khadafy.

    We are following him. We are going to find him," said rebel information minister Mahmoud Shammam.

  62. .

    I've always bought into the argument that TARP was necessary to avoid an international financial disaster while at the same time recognizing the valid arguments others offered against it.

    However, with the FED actions we have seen lately as well as recent stories coming from sources like Bloomberg, I am moving further and further away from the FED/Treasury position.

    The Rescue That Missed Main Street

    FOR the last three years we have been told repeatedly by government officials that funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to large and teetering banks during the credit crisis was necessary to save the financial system, and beneficial to Main Street.

    But this has been a hard sell to an increasingly skeptical public. As Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission back in May 2010, “I was never able to explain to the American people in a way in which they understood it why these rescues were for them and for their benefit, not for Wall Street.”

    The American people were right to question Mr. Paulson’s pitch, as it turns out. And that became clearer than ever last week when Bloomberg News published fresh and disturbing details about the crisis-era bailouts.

    Based on information generated by Freedom of Information Act requests and its longstanding lawsuit against the Federal Reserve board, Bloomberg reported that the Fed had provided a stunning $1.2 trillion to large global financial institutions at the peak of its crisis lending in December 2008...

    Who did TARP help?


  63. .

    The money has been repaid and the Fed has said its lending programs generated no losses. But with the United States economy weakening, European banks in trouble and some large American financial institutions once again on shaky ground, the Fed may feel compelled to open up its money spigots again.

    Nothing has been done in the last three years to resolve the problems the banks got us into.

    The banks are now even bigger, making them even more too big to fail.

    The moral hazard has increased.

    Efforts at passing new regulations to prevent the problems of the past have been watered down, delayed, and ineffectual.


  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. .

    For instance, its report detailed the surprisingly sketchy collateral — stocks and junk bonds — accepted by the Fed to back its loans. And who will be surprised if foreign institutions, which our central bank has no duty to help, receive bushels of money from the Fed in the coming months? In 2008, the Royal Bank of Scotland received $84.5 billion, and Dexia, a Belgian lender, borrowed $58.5 billion from the Fed at its peak.

    Walker F. Todd, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and a former assistant general counsel and research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said these details from 2008 confirm that institutions, not citizens, were aided most by the bailouts.

    “What is the benefit to the American taxpayer of propping up a Belgian bank with a single New York banking office to the tune of tens of billions of dollars?” he asked. “It seems inconsistent ultimately to have provided this much assistance to the biggest institutions for so long, and then to have done in effect nothing for the homeowner, nothing for credit card relief.”


  66. .

    “Bailing out firms indiscriminately hampered rather than promoted economic recovery,” Mr. Kane continued. “It evoked reckless gambles for resurrection among rescued firms and created uncertainty about who would finally bear the extravagant costs of these programs. Both effects continue to disrupt the flow of credit and real investment necessary to trigger and sustain economic recovery.”

    As for making money on the deals? Only half-true, Mr. Kane said. “Thanks to the vastly subsidized terms these programs offered, most institutions were eventually able to repay the formal obligations they incurred.” But taxpayers were inadequately compensated for the help they provided, he said. We should have received returns of 15 percent to 20 percent on our money, given the nature of these rescues...

    It's just a matter of time before these institutions get bailed out again.


  67. re: your Jahweh craparoo, wishing the death of the Christian churches as you do.

    I have never spoken here are elsewhere of the death of Christian churches. What I have done, on your provocation, was to give a few of the anti-Semitic quotes of Martin Luther. I could have gone further but chose to pass.

    Last Friday evening, I hosted ten Christians afiliated with the Rev. Creflo Dollar at my synagogue. So well received were they that some will be returning, I am told.

    re: a goddamn fucking thing to me.

    ...another cogent, well thought out statement (alcohol induced?)

    re: Anonymous said...
    You leave your own SON to make up his own MIND about such silly ( I hope he comes to understand this) THINGS as the UNSPEAKABLE NAME and for CHRIST'S SAKE go show a condo.

    We have no entered the realm of delusion. Since I do not presume to manipulate either my son or daughter, they make up their minds, as is the wont of healthy adults.

    re: He says Gentiles fuck their own daughters.

    No, I said nothing of the sort. I did suggest that you may have abused your (singular) child. You are now "Everyman"?


    Noah was not a Jew.

    The father of Judaism was Abram. If you have any salacious tales of Abram having intercourse with his daughter (if any), fire away. If not, you have stepped into an area outside your expertise.

  68. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann yesterday blamed "radical environmentalists" for bottling up American energy.

  69. Our Secret Leviathan

    During the nine years since Sept. 11, the national security state has doubled or tripled in size, with huge annexes in the private sector -- and the culture of secrecy has metastasized simultaneously.

    Priest and Arkin say that there are as many as 1,271 government entities and 1,931 private companies "working on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States," with an estimated 854,000 people -- far more than live in the city of Washington, D.C. -- holding top-secret security clearances."

    More than 30 building complexes for top-secret intelligence outfits are either under construction now or have been built since September 2001; altogether, these buildings occupy 17 million square feet of space.

    Nobody in the White House, the Congress or any of the intelligence agencies, including the new Office of the Director of National Intelligence, seems to have the capacity to manage the complex tangle of agencies, companies and off-the-books entities that are supposed to protect us from violent extremism.

    After reviewing the way that the Defense Department oversees its most sensitive intelligence and operational programs last year, retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines told the Post reporters that he found the morass almost incomprehensible:

    "I'm not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities. The complexity of this system defies description."

    Calling this thing a "system" is a bit misleading. But does the leviathan offspring of government and corporation make us safer? That, too, is difficult to determine -- in fact, it is impossible to determine, as the writers explain, because with "so many employees, units and organizations, the lines of responsibility began to blur."

    We have no way of knowing precisely what the national security complex does with the hundreds of billions of dollars in its shrouded budgets. What we do know is that billions of dollars are wasted through redundancy, corruption and sheer overgrowth. Too many agencies are performing the same tasks, such as shutting down terrorist money transfers and generating too many reports for anyone to read.

    Most disturbing is that so many critical functions are outsourced to private corporations, primarily loyal to shareholders and management. The role of these corporations and their lobbyists, who controlled the creation of the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration, is a challenge to democracy of unprecedented proportions.

    But despite presidential promises of transparency, the Barack Obama administration is fostering more secrecy, not less -- which is exactly the wrong way to cope with this problem. Our democracy and our security both depend on bringing this monstrous bureaucracy to heel -- and that can only be done in the sunlight.

  70. .

    Fear sells, Dougo.

    We've seen it here at the EB and on a bigger scale throughout the US..

    Tell them a terrorist is coming to get them and they are willing to justify any cost, give up any right, and endure any humiliation just so papa government will take care of them.

    When they created that Office of National Intelligence, the first director (always forget his name) spent the first year just putting up buildings and hiring staff.

    The Patriot Act is a joke. 1984 is here.

    Bush tried to go back and re-classify material that has been in the public domain for two decades.
    The CIA bought out the entire first run of one book at a cost of $50,000 so as to keep it off the shelves. They recently got an injunction against a former agent to suppress material in his book. Much of the stuff they want deleted has been in the public domain for years, some reported by newspapers other released as part of the public record from open conngressional hearings.


  71. I did suggest that you may have abused your (singular) child.

    You did indeed. Which makes you a non Jew, as your institutes tell you a slander is a killing, and that is a no no.

    You are a piece of crap.

    By the way I had Jews at my wedding as well. Good Jews that my father had been partners with forever.


  72. boob confuses Judaism with Israel, and is burnt by the conflation.

    He should seek a professional diagnostician, before he slips further into the dementia